Still out long-term with broken wrist, Martin says Wolves’ injuries ‘worst’ he’s seen
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Martin has been through this before.
The first time the Timberwolves shooting guard fractured his wrist, he went off for 48 points, the second-most in his 11-year NBA career. Martin scored 29 the next night before being diagnosed with a broken bone in his left wrist.
He was on a roll. Then he was on a surgeon’s table.
That was in 2009, when Martin wasn’t in his 30s and played for the Sacramento Kings. On Nov. 19 this year against the Knicks, he did it again, scoring 37 points — 31 after sustaining the injury at the first quarter’s 6:48 mark.
Same bone. Same break. But this time, it’s in Martin’s shooting hand.
"I don’t know" what it is about him and broken wrists, Martin said Friday. "I’d rather not have them, though, no matter how many points I have."
Moreover, this time, he’s the third Minnesota starter out for the long-term. Martin calls it the worst rash of injuries he’s seen in his decade of NBA hoops.
Point guard Ricky Rubio has a severe ankle sprain that will keep him out, like Martin, until January. Center Nikola Pekovic has a sprained wrist and hasn’t played since Nov. 15. Backup big man Ronny Turiaf is out, too.
There’s a chance backup point man Mo Williams misses Friday night’s contest against Houston with back spasms, especially with the Wolves traveling to San Antonio on Saturday for the second game of a back-to-back.
It’s gotten so extreme, the Wolves used a rare NBA roster exemption to sign power forward Jeff Adrien in the short term.
"This is probably the worst," Martin said. "I think any time you lose your top three players, it kills the whole vibe. It kills the team."
And Martin is at the center of the scourge.
He initially thought the wrist was merely sprained. He didn’t notice much of a difference during the Knicks game, other than missing four free throws — uncharacteristic for an 86.9-percent career free throw shooter. "I try not to miss four free throws in a month," Martin said. "I have an excuse . . . now."
Dr. Thomas Graham performed surgery on the wrist Nov. 25 at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, about a two-hour drive north of Martin’s home in Zanesville, Ohio. The initial timetable called for Martin’s return sometime between Jan. 6 and Jan. 20, a 6-8 week span.
Martin returned to the team Thursday night. He met with rookie Andrew Wiggins and some of the other young players being asked to shoulder the load, but he’s not much help other than that, he said.
Not when his 20.4 points, 48.1-percent 3-point clip and volume scoring are, for the time being, cemented on the shelf.
"At the end of the day, it’s going to be them," he said. "I’m not going to be out there with them. . . . If they think this is the toughest thing that’s going to happen to them in their career, then they’re going to have a pretty good career."
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